Gates details role for additional US forces in Afghanistan

CORNWALLIS, Nova Scotia (AP) -- Defense Secretary Robert Gates is telling allies that the additional U.S. forces to be sent to Afghanistan war must be shared across the country's southern region, where the bulk of fighting has been taking place.

Gates is meeting with defense ministers from Canada, Britain, Australia and four other nations with troops in the region. While the Pentagon reevaluates its strategy in Afghanistan, it has announced plans to send 3,500 additional Marines to the country before the end of the year. An Army brigade of about 5,000 soldiers will deploy early next year. As many as three more brigades could follow.

Canadian Defense Minister Peter MacKay describes the deployment of U.S. troops to volatile regions like Kandahar province as the "800-pound gorilla in the room." He says the number of U.S. troops sent "will be telling" for NATO's prospects of success.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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